COVID-19: Government may allow negative test as alternative to vaccine for summer travel

Newshub understands vaccination will not be absolutely necessary for summer travel, with a negative test a possible alternative. 

On Wednesday, the Government will unveil its systems for summer - and while there will be a vaccination or test requirement for travel out of Auckland, don't expect to see police checkpoints everywhere. 

No matter if you're planning to hit the road or spend the holidays at home, everyone is hanging out for the Government to give us a steer on summer.

"What we need to make sure is that people are able to move freely but working hard to also add some extra layers of protection," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday. 

But Newshub understands the best layer of protection we have - vaccination - won't be an absolute must for Aucklanders to travel this summer. Those who want a vacation without a vaccination could be able to show a negative test instead. 

"I'm not going to get into the arrangements around the boundary around Auckland today," said COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins. 

That's for the big announcement on Wednesday, and Newshub understands the majority of traffic leaving Auckland will likely be spot-checked, meaning no vaccine or testing checkpoint queues.

But roads to under-vaccinated areas and therefore riskier places - like Northland, for instance - may have stronger border checks. 

"We have seen that they have helped slow the spread of COVID so making sure that as we move to our new strategy, use tools that continue to slow that spread," Ardern said. 

If only they had a tool to stop the spread of misinformation, which has fueled angry protests.

Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty was targeted on the weekend by anti-vaxxer John Ansell, who asked the Labour MP what his position was on "the murder of children".

"The comments that I've had subsequently online are a bit of a worry," McAnulty told reporters on Tuesday. 

Ansell was later visited by police and was warned for threatening an MP.

"I'm a bit nervous. I've got two armed policemen at my door," Ansell could be heard saying in a video posted online. "We're not armed," the officers said, to which he replied: "Well, you've got arms."

MPs are increasingly concerned about their safety.

"I'm obviously a bit more cautious at the moment," Hipkins said, after revealing his electorate office had been targeted by anti-vaxxers. 

McAnulty added: "There's no doubt in my mind that things have escalated now, so let's take it seriously."

While this misguided anger is coming from a very small motivated group, a more reasonable frustration is becoming widespread in Auckland after 91 days in lockdown.

"Aucklanders have had a gutsful of this Government. They've had enough and they want to be able to have their freedom," said National leader Judith Collins. 

Her MPs visited Auckland freely last week, including Wellington-based MP Chris Bishop, crossing the border which has separated families, to visit some businesses. He and fellow MP Christopher Luxon were caught maskless at a meeting.

"We had our masks off to talk at various points but the meetings were outside," Bishop said. 

"We are allowed to outside and we had that socially distanced and spaced," added Luxon. 

The guidelines at level 3 are to wear a mask and keep your distance.